September 20th, 2007

Sweet on BRIX

BRIX owners Wroblewski & Mally

After I learned from my more with-it colleagues in drink that obscure cocktail ingredients could be found at BRIX Wine Shop in the South End, I ventured over there with notebook and camera in hand. I just had to interview Carri Wroblewski and Klaudia Mally, the two self-described “chix” who own the place, and find out what they were up to.

If you’re used to the typical Massachusetts package store with its motley hodgepodge of wines o’ the world and dusty bottles of Leroux cordials, you might walk into BRIX and think, ‘Ooops, wrong tax bracket!’ Each bottle here seems to occupy its own special place on the sleek shelves, the way individual sweaters are displayed in high-end clothing boutiques. But take a closer look, and you’ll find reasonably priced wines along the bottom shelves, just like in any other liquor store. Luckily, these wines have been certified Not To Suck by Wroblewski and Mally, who forsake the usual suspects in favor of offbeat stuff they truly like, culling their selection from 39(!) different distributors.

The ladies are industry veterans — Wroblewski worked for J. Lohr Wines and Frederick Wildman & Sons importers, Mally waited tables at Grill 23 before working in mergers and acquisitions for a software company — and they’re all about education and service. They hold weekly public tastings and offer private ones by invitation or appointment. And they network with influential people in the Boston bar industry to stay on top of in-demand but hard-to-find spirits like Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, Amer Picon, Van Winkle bourbon and Peychaud’s and orange bitters. If you can’t find some oddity necessary for an obscure cocktail, BRIX will do its best to special-order it for you.

If you, like me, are closer to downtown Boston than the South End, you’re in luck — Wroblewski and Mally are opening a new store on Broad Street in October. It will look similar to the four-year-old mothership, but it’ll have a private tasting room for events. If you want up-to-date info on tastings and special offers, get on the BRIX mailing list. Oh, in case you were wondering, “brix” is the name of a scale used in winemaking to measure the sugar content in grape juice.

Permalink | Filed under Cocktails, Drinking supplies, Wine |

6 Responses to “Sweet on BRIX”

  1. Stephen

    i talked to carri today. brix is picking up the alpenz line of awsome formerly impossible to get ingredients. i’ve tasted the entire line and its so much fun to mix and drink…

    stunning creme de violette.
    a very pure apricot liqueur.
    the very highly sought after batavia arak.
    pine liqueur which might be the coolest thing.
    and a couple others.

    for something i’ve never heard of, the pine liqueur really impressed me but the arak is a total must have for any spirit enthusiest. it will become a big staple of my booze diet.

  2. Adam

    Stephen: I think that to avoid ambiguity you might want to refer to the name of the Batavia product as “Batavia Arak.” The word “arak” alone usually refers to a middle eastern spirit distilled from grapes and flavored with anise (similar to ouzo); quite a different thing than the Batavia Arak, which probably should have been labeled “Arrack” according to what I’ve read about it…

    And all of that said, I’ve never actually tried it–so I will have to visit Brix ASAP and correct that. Thanks for the heads up!

  3. Ben

    I can’t say enough good things about Brix… I even took a cocktail class hosted by Jackson from Eastern Standard.

    Amazing place, I’ve purchased the best wine I’ve ever had from there… and it’s very reasonably priced as well.

  4. ljclark

    Stephen, that is fantastic news about BRIX carrying the Alpenz line! They are supposed to have a bit more room for this kind of stuff in the new store. Happy shopping.

  5. the modern serf

    i went down there this morning and picked up a bottle of peychaud’s. pretty good selection, but so far mostly stuff i can pick up at marty’s in allston. also, i generally prefer liquor stores that dont have all the spirits behind the counter, so that i can browse the selection. hopefully the new store’s greater size will allow that.

  6. jacqueline church

    We were thrilled when we first encountered Brix. It went downhill fast. Two three times we got wines that were turned. Customer service was so lacking I wrote to them after the last disappointment and then again, after they announced the new shop, giving them another shot to respond. You know, “congratulations, I’m sure you’ve been busy, maybe you missed my email…” Not even the courtesy of a response.

    There are good options where people care about your business and sell you wine that is sound (rather than vinegar), that care when they’ve caused you multiple trips and so forth…No way to do business. Too bad, I’d rather have a good small business to support. This is not it.

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